It might be the week before Christmas, but in a balmy Barcelona with temperatures in the sun at 19°C, tis apparently the season to pack up a picnic and head for the hills. If that sounds like fun, you might like my most recent article for the Spain Scoop, on the stand-out spots to get away from it all on the mountain of Montjuïc.
Here’s my take on the best green retreats for when you need some nature/nurture.
“Pining for greenery
…it has to be said, if there’s one thing that’s at a premium in this city, it’s grass. Having grown up in Glasgow (aka “dear green place” – you see the predicament) I have come to expect a certain amount of turf and topiary in my life. Throughout most of the city, there’s isn’t a blade of the green stuff in sight (Ciutadella Park is the notable exception, but the grass there is like week-old stubble, sprawled on by sunbathers and to top it all off, jaggy).
If you too are craving a little bit of nature, without doing anything as extreme as hiking Barcelona’s surrounding hills, the parks and gardens of Montjuïc are your best bet. Most of them were designed back in the 1920s for the International Exposition that was to take place, and then overhauled again in the run-up to the Olympics in 1992.
Don’t be fooled by Montjuïc, though. Its size is deceptively doable on the map, but it’s a very large area which has some brutal slopes for added calf kick. Here are some of the gardens I think are worth seeing if you’re tackling this Olympic mountain.”